Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Ideas

IDEAS: EDP Unveils Underwater ‘Art Reef’ in Portugal

7 months ago

An underwater art exhibition, known as the ‘EDP Art Reef’ is available to visit off the coast of Portugal.

The exhibition, which was created by energy provider EDP in collaboration with Portuguese street artist Vhils, sees materials taken from three retired EDP coal-fired power stations repurposed into an underwater art reef.

The exhibition is located around a mile off the coast of the Algarve, and allows divers – who have the appropriate certifications – to enjoy the 13 art pieces at a depth of 12 metres.

According to the website, the underwater exhibition includes live corals, that will ‘evolve with the tides, varying with the seasons and the years’, and the long-term aim of the project is that nature will eventually take over the installations, and ‘transform the works of art over time into an ecosystem for marine life’.

You can find out how to visit the exhibition here.


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

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Tourism

Portugal Set a New Tourism Record in May

11 months ago

The number of foreign tourists visiting Portugal hit a record of more than 1.8 million in May, with visitors from the United States becoming the second-largest group, data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) showed on Friday.

Measuring only foreigners staying in Portuguese hotels, the number topped by far the 1.6 million people a year ago, and was above the 1.7 million reported in the same month of 2019, which was a record year for tourism, before the COVID-19 pandemic crippled global travel in 2020.

In the first five months of 2023, the number of foreign tourists visiting the Portugal surpassed 6.4 million, up from 5.7 million in the same period of 2019.

Tourism, a key driver of Portugal’s economy, accounted for almost 15% of gross domestic product before the pandemic.

Visitors from Britain represented the largest share of total arrivals in May, closely followed by the United States, which has significantly grown as a source of tourism to Portugal.France.

(Reporting by Patrícia Vicente Rua; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Angus MacSwan)

This article was from Reuters and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

Tourism

The Top Cities for Recent Car Rental Reservations

1 year ago

Global car rentals rocketed during the end-of-year holiday break, with more than three times the amount of seven-day bookings compared to the 2019 winter holiday period.

According to data from global car-hire comparison site DiscoverCars, there were 12,646 seven-day reservations for the festive period, more than three times the amount in 2019-20, which saw 3,826 bookings.

The data is based on the 18 days from Dec. 20, 2022 to Jan. 7, 2023. Seven-day rentals tend to be the most common duration for vacations.

Portugal has meanwhile proved a popular tourist destination over the past two years, not least as a top digital nomad destination, but the rental figures show just how resilient the country is.

Capital city Lisbon has more than doubled the number of car rental pickups in recent weeks, compared to before the pandemic. In the space of 18 days there were 4,220 pickups, compared to 1,782 in the same period in 2019/20.

Another Portuguese city, historic Porto, was the third most popular destination with 1,985 pickups, trailing Auckland in New Zealand. The Portuguese islands of Madeira also made it into the top 10.

Late last year, European destinations had the edge slightly over other parts of the world.

The comparison site also predicts car rental companies’ fleet composition will change within the next three years, with electric vehicles likely comprising a majority of rentals by 2025.

This week Hertz announced a push into Europe, making 25,000 Tesla and Polestar cars available to Uber drivers.

DiscoverCars reviewed internal data from 143 countries.

Top cities for reservations in 2019/20 No. of reservations Top cities for reservations in 2022/23 No. of reservations
Lisbon, Portugal 1,782 Lisbon, Portugal 4,220
Porto, Portugal 1,011 Auckland, New Zealand 2,305
Auckland, New Zealand 762 Porto, Portugal 1,985
Marrakech, Morocco 601 Tenerife, Spain 1,704
Orlando, Florida 584 Milan, Italy 1,610
Dublin, Ireland 563 Queenstown, New Zealand 1,585
Malaga, Spain 532 Madeira, Portugal 1,312
Miami, Florida 481 Marrakech, Morocco 1,301
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 452 Cancun, Mexico 1,290
London, United Kingdom 434 Catania, Italy 1,271

Uncategorized

Portugal Plans $4.7 Billion Lisbon-Porto High-Speed Rail Line

2 years ago

Portugal is getting in on the high-speed rail bandwagon. The country’s prime minister, António Costa, unveiled Wednesday plans for a new $4.7 billion (4.9 billion) passenger rail line that, when it opens in 2030, will cut travel train times between Lisbon and Porto by an hour-and-a-half to one hour and 19 minutes.

The planned line will connect Lisbon’s Oriente station to Porto’s Campanha station a little over 185 miles to the north. It will include four intermediate stops at Leiria, Coimbra, Aveiro and Gaia. In addition, Costa said the new line will eventually extend from Porto to the Spanish city of Vigo, about another 100 miles to the north, where it will connect with Spain’s AVE high-speed rail network. The extension will include stops at Porto’s airport, Braga, and Valença.

Lisbon Oriente Train
A train at Lisbon’s Oriente station. (Chester025/Flickr)

In comments posted on Twitter, Costa highlighted the importance of connecting Portugal’s two largest city as well as the country’s international competitiveness for the investment. The high-speed rail line will also help move the country to “the forefront of the fight against climate change, [and] changing the mobility paradigm.”

Trains have taken on a renewed importance across Europe amid the push to cut carbon emissions, and the spike in energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. France, for example, banned domestic flights on routes where a train makes the journey in two-and-a-half-hours or less. And, in Germany, a so-called “9 euro ticket” local and regional rail pass this summer exceeded expectations — and proved doubters wrong — in boosting rail travel and helping ease the pain of high energy prices.

Tourism

The UK and Portugal Hope New Visa Fixes Can Fix Persistent Labor Shortages

2 years ago

Staffing problems in the hospitality industry continue to linger. Now, two countries are aiming to amend visa regulations to counter them.

A petition has been launched in the UK that seeks to allow European Union nationals to come to the UK to work in hospitality for up to two years.

“The government should create a special visa for people from the EU countries to come to the UK to work in the hospitality industry for a period of up to 2 years, similar to the Seasonal Work visa for horticulture workers. Some countries have visas like this to support the hospitality sector,” the petition says.

“There is a massive shortage of qualified labour in the UK to fill vacancies that were in many cases previously filled by EU staff. For years people from the EU countries were the backbone of the hospitality industry and many were affected by COVID and subsequently by Brexit’s final terms. Many restaurants are struggling to find people with experience and willingness to work.”

As of Sept. 2 it had secured more than 16,400 signatures. Once a petition reaches 10,000 the UK government is obliged to respond. At 100,000 signatures, the topic is considered for debate in Parliament.

The UK left the European Union on 31 Jan. 2020, with free movement between the UK and the European Union ending on 1 Jan. 2021, when a new points-based immigration process was set up that is far more restrictive than before Brexit.

Brexit is being blamed for many things, but staff shortages seem to be the biggest bugbear.

“Supplier labor will continue to be an issue,” Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said in May this year. “The UK will continue to be very challenged. The labor market is very inflexible post Brexit. You can’t bring in young Europeans.”

Portugal, meanwhile, is to speed up the time it takes to grant visas to citizens of other Portuguese-speaking countries, including Angola and Brazil, according to reports.

The other countries in the Community of Portuguese language countries are East Timor, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique and Sao Tome and Principe.

Immigrants from these countries have had to get a visa if they plan to stay in Portugal for more than 90 days, Reuters reported, and often have to wait many months to get visa approval.

Employers’ confederations have said there are no workers available in key sectors such as hotels, agriculture and construction.